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Frustrated Bilic blasts referee Webb

Croatia coach Slaven Bilic has criticised the performance of referee Howard Webb in his side’s 1-1 draw against Italy at Euro 2012.

A second-half goal from Mario Mandzukic rescued a point for Croatia on Thursday after the Azzurri had taken the lead five minutes before the interval through Andrea Pirlo.

The draw leaves Croatia on four points, level with Spain ahead of Monday’s clash between the two teams.

Italy have two points in Group C.

“Many coaches do not like to talk about the referees, but I do not agree with that,” Bilic said after the game.

“Perhaps I am not going to be objective, but there was a penalty on Nikica Jelavic, while the foul which preceded Pirlo’s free-kick goal did not exist.

“I do not want to stir up controversy, but the referee favoured Italy.”

Despite his disappointment, Bilic hailed the efforts of his players to fight back after Pirlo’s early goal.

“When you’re playing against a big team it’s not easy to have the ball,” the 43-year-old said.

“We waited for our chances. They were better in the first half but even then we played well and had chances, as we did in the second period.

“In the first half we were a little overawed because there was a lot of pressure on us. We didn’t play our best, we can do a lot better, as we showed in the second half.

“Sometimes we lacked patience and shot from outside the box, we needed to be more aggressive to try to have more of the ball and control in midfield.

“At half-time we changed a few positions, Mandzukic dropped deeper, (Ivan) Rakitic went onto the wing and I pushed up (Luka) Modric.

“He pressed their defence and tried to play in Rakitic and Mandzukic. We dominated them, we were the better team.

“We made triangles, we were passing the ball, we were compact in that area. We’ve got top players, (Ivan) Strinic played really well, as did (Darijo) Srna.

“We came close to winning, I have to congratulate both teams, it was a good match and I’m satisfied with the result.

“My players showed character, they’re good quality players.”

Fri 15 Jun, 2012
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